MasterCard continues to work on fashion + wearable payments strategy

MasterCard seems to be putting a sartorial spin on payments, teaming up with the New School’s Parsons School of Design to bring a design-led approach to payments technology.

In a Fashion and Design Hack sponsored by the two organisations, teams of students will compete to develop solutions and build prototypes for connected commerce by embedding payments functionality into products, new designs or concepts.


Everything will be a payment device

This is part of the company’s larger strategy of trying to turn everything (they’re not joking) into a payment device.

Last year, the firm showcased exclusive designs from fashion designer Adam Selman and prototypes from GM (key fob), Nymi (wristband) and Ringly (ring), which were on display at the Money 20/20 conference in Las Vegas last year.


“As the world becomes more and more connected, the way consumers interact and transact is transforming,” said Sherri Haymond, senior vice president, Digital Payments and Labs, MasterCard. “What you buy and how you pay will soon blend seamlessly into your lifestyle as design, usability and technology merge together in new ways. The Fashion and Design Hack with Parsons is another way for us to integrate design-led thinking into payments innovation and tap into the creativity and ingenuity of the school’s design students.”

The students will be competing for a $15,000 prize as well as  an opportunity to showcase their creations at leading MasterCard industry events.

“How people and products interact is changing rapidly,” said Burak Cakmak, dean of Parsons School of Fashion at The New School. “More and more, companies are turning to design to help build a more positive consumer experience. By partnering with Parsons, MasterCard is engaging with our students’ creative and innovative approaches to design viable solutions.”


MasterCard isn’t the only one

But this isn’t a one-horse race. Visa is also making concerted efforts to explore the fashion +wearable payments, hoping to turn it from an early-stage niche to mainstream popularity. PaymentEye spoke to Nick Mackie, head of Contactless at Visa Europe, last year about the company’s plans for fashion.

“Increasingly, Visa Europe is seeing contactless payments becoming a feature that wearables manufacturers are integrating into their products.  At the same time, we expect to see examples of wearables that are designed from the ground up for payments – like we show-cased with Central Saint Martins in September,” he said.

The company also partnered with British designer, Henry Holland, during London Fashion Week.


Both MasterCard and Visa emphasised that creativity will be at the heart of this fashion innovation.

“We need creative minds to push the boundaries of their imagination and develop design concepts that are truly inventive. Through this collaboration the new generation of design students will have the opportunity to bring to life concepts that incorporate cutting-edge design with the latest in payments technology,” said MasterCard collaborator and fashion designer, Adam Selman.

Startups are also at the table, with companies such as Kerv seeking to popularise fashion accessories that feature contactless payments.

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